Former employees of Georgia-Pacific, a paper and building products company owned by Koch Industries, along with their families and attorneys, are involved in a prolonged legal battle over claims that asbestos in workplace products led to fatal cancers. While Charles Koch – the CEO of Koch Industries – has been dodging the asbestos litigation, he’s been pouring millions into his political group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), in support of Nimarata ‘Nikki’ Haley’s Republican presidential primary campaign.
AFP recently endorsed Haley, the former Governor of South Carolina, at the behest of its billionaire patron. In South Carolina, the Koch-backed group has already spent $3 million in pro-Haley advertising. Koch himself has been an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump.
In the Georgia-Pacfic case, the workers argue the Koch-owned company has evaded paying millions in compensation through a controversial bankruptcy tactic known as the “Texas two-step.” This legal maneuver permits a corporation to split into two entities, shouldering lawsuit liabilities onto one company and assets onto another.
Throughout the legal proceedings, Georgia-Pacific has continued regular operations, with Koch Industries receiving over $5 billion in dividends since the asbestos liabilities shifted to the shell company Bestwall LCC. Koch earned $2.5 billion in dividends this year alone. Meanwhile, over 60,000 asbestos lawsuits lodged against Georgia-Pacific remain in a state of uncertainty.
The Chinese Communist Party-linked Jones Day law firm, led by attorney Greg Gordon, has conducted analogous splits for several significant companies facing similar lawsuits since 2017. These companies include Johnson & Johnson, Saint-Gobain, Trane Technologies, and Georgia-Pacific, with the latter being the first firm to utilize the tactic.
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